Sâver – They Came with Sunlight (Pelagic Records, 08 March 2019)
Here in the Valley of Steel we don’t pay much attention to what’s trending or getting a bunch of recognition elsewhere; all we care about is listening to what we enjoy, and (sometimes) writing about it.
But having said that, sometimes it’s also nice to feel vindicated and validated, when something we identify as “good” achieves recognition from elsewhere.
Case in point: They Came with Sunlight, the debut offering from Oslo trio Sâver — which upon its release about eleven months ago made quite an impression upon this reviewer, later to become firmly entrenched in our selection of last year’s best records.
Well, just a few days ago the band announced that the album had been nominated for a Norwegian Grammy. In fact, it was one of four from 2019 recognized in the Metal category by the Spellemann committee, for the award officially known as the Spellemannprisen.
And so, if you haven’t already become enamored of They Came with Sunlight, here’s your opportunity to see what all the fuss is about!
Is it just me, or does that album artwork really bring to mind another album with “sun” in the title? I mean, Neurosis is definitely the go-to comparison for anybody whose music features a similar juxtaposition, with long stretches of slower/calmer moody post-metal parts that suddenly give way to heavier metallic bits. And Sâver‘s lengthy closing track “Altered Light” especially fits that bill, even featuring riffs that conjure up the extended ending of “The Tide” from A Sun that Never Sets. Probably not coincidentally, each of these songs is among my personal favorites from their respective albums.
But They Came with Sunlight brings far more to the table than that. There are plenty of gargantuan riffs capable of demolishing everything in their path (check out “How They Envisioned Life”); combined with huge drums, angsty yelling and screaming (in a Kowloon Walled City post-screamo kind of way), and sometimes even evisceratingly ferocious vocals (the latter part of “Dissolve to Ashes”).
Made up of equal parts rhythmic chugging and post-psychedelic freakouts, “I, Vanish” might remind listeners of fellow Norwegians Kraków; interspersed with all that, more chilled-out parts like the bass groove and spaced-out moog tones that introduce both “Distant Path” and “Dissolve to Ashes” (and the almost completely synth instrumental track “Influx”) — fascinating otherworldly explorations on par with Ufomammut.
With so much goodness squeezed into a single 50+ minute package, is it any wonder this album (reportedly recorded while camping in a Swedish forest) should be receiving so many accolades?
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